The next forecast will be issued over the weekend. We're taking a short break for Thanksgiving. Many thanks to everyone for your support of Stormsurf over the past year. You give us much to be thankful for.
Swell Classification Guidelines
Significant: Winter - Swell 8 ft @ 14 secs or greater (11+ ft faces) for 8+ hours (greater than double overhead).
Summer - Head high or better.
Advanced: Winter - Swell and period combination capable of generating faces 1.5 times overhead to double overhead (7-10 ft)
Summer - Chest to head high.
Intermediate/Utility Class: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces at head high to 1.5 times overhead (4-7 ft).
Summer - Waist to chest high.
Impulse/Windswell: Winter - Swell and period combination generating faces up to head high (1-4 ft) or anything with a period less than 11 secs.
Summer - up to waist high swell. Also called 'Background' swell.
On Tuesday (11/26) North and Central CA surf was up to waist high at select breaks and clean and lined up. Down in Santa Cruz surf was knee high and glassy and beautiful, but not real rideable. In Southern California up north surf was flat and clean. Down south waves were knee to thigh high and clean. Hawaii's North Shore was getting dateline swell with waves 2-3 ft overhead on the bigger sets and pretty clean. The South Shore was flat and clean. Exposed breaks on the East Shore were getting wrap around swell at waist high and bumped up from trades.
See QuikCASTs for the 5 day surf overview or read below for the detailed view.
In the North Pacific swell from a modest gale that developed over the Northern Dateline region Friday (11/22) generating a tiny area of 26 ft seas aimed due east was providing swell for Hawaii. Much more decayed energy to push into the US West Coast, but will likely be buried in larger local swell. Remnants of that gale are redeveloping in the Gulf Tues-Wed (11/27) with up to 36 ft seas occurring targeting Central CA southward, and is to continue tracking east-southeast producing smaller seas targeting well down into Southern CA. And a broader gale is developing just east of the dateline too, expected to produce 34 ft seas aimed mainly to the east targeting the mainland with sideband energy for the Islands. At this time it seems likely that swell is to miraculously result for the Thanksgiving holidays for US interests. And another small system is forecast for the dateline on Sun (12/1) with 28 ft seas while a local system pushes down the Pacific Northwest coast with 20 ft seas. More but smaller swell for all.
Note: NDBC has issued a schedule to start repairing buoys as of 11/12/13. Unfortunately no buoys of interest to California are scheduled through September 2014. Hawaiian buoys are set for maintenance in April 2014.
SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours
Jetstream - On Tuesday (11/23) the jetstream was pushing over Japan down at 30N with winds 140 kts, then splitting with some energy starting to push due north up the Kuril Islands but most falling into a trough on the dateline with 110 kt winds in it's apex. A good circulation was outlined by the jet relative to this trough providing it good support for gale development. The jet ridged some east of the dateline trough, then fell into a second trough in the Eastern Gulf with 130 kts winds feeding it and providing more support for gale development. East of there the jet became diffuse. Over the next 72 hours a pocket of 160 kt wind is to hold over Japan while the dateline trough looses it's wind energy and becomes cut off, with much energy streaming up the Kuril Islands instead and into the North Bering Sea and beyond (by late Wed). The trough off the US West Coast is continue to have 110 kt winds feeding it, providing more support for gale development as it sinks southeast, reaching Southern CA on Thurs (11/28). The pocket of wind over Japan is to start ridging northeast some then falling into a new developing trough on the dateline Thursday with 160 kt winds falling into it but the trough quickly pinching off on Fri (11/29). No support for gale development likely there given the pinch and the split flow arching over the Bering Sea well to the north. Beyond 72 hours the split flow is to start falling south down the US West Coast late Sun (12/1) while the origin of the split (near the Kuril Islands0 start to fade out. By late Tues (12/3) a flat flow of 130 kt winds is to be tracking off Japan from 27N feeding a small trough north of Hawaii, with the split flow exiting over the East Pacific. Only limited support for gale development in that trough.
Surface Analysis - On Tuesday (11/23) swell for the Dateline Gale (details below) was hitting Hawaii. Two gales were in progress, one in the Eastern Gulf (see Gulf Gale below) and one on the dateline (see Stronger Dateline Gale below). No other systems of interest were occurring. Over the next 72 hours no other swell producing systems are forecast. Instead weak high pressure is to build off the US West Coast ridging into the Pacific Northwest and a second one in the Bering Sea.
A weak gale developed just west of the Northern Dateline region on Fri AM (11/22) producing 40 kt northwest winds with seas building to 20 ft at 43N 172E. In the evening winds held if not expanded some at 40 kts from the northwest with seas building to 22 ft at 43N 180W targeting midway between Hawaii and the US West Coast (326 degs HI). Fetch was fading from 35-40 kts Sat AM (11/23) aimed due east with seas peaking at 26 ft at 45N 174W over a tiny area aimed east (331 degs HI, 298 degs NCal). The low continued tracking east Sat evening with winds fading from 30 kts and seas dropping from 24 ft 43N 168W (293 degs NCal), then dissipated 12 hours later.
Some small swell to result for Hawaii and the US West Coast.
Hawaii: Residuals on Wed (11/27) fading from 4 ft @ 11 secs (4.5 ft faces). Swell Direction: 328-337 degrees.
NCal: Expect tiny swell arriving Wednesday (11/27) near 1 AM and peaking near 9 AM at 2.6 ft @ 15 secs (4.0 ft faces) and holding through the day as period drops towards 14 secs. Inconsistent and shadowed in the immediate SF Bay area. Swell Direction: 298 degrees.
Remnants of a low pressure system that previously crossed the dateline started to redevelop 750 nmiles north of Hawaii Sun PM (11/24) generating 30 kt northwest to west winds and lifting gently northeast. 17 ft seas were in place 900 nmiles north-northwest of Hawaii on Monday AM (11/25) pushing windswell towards the Islands. By evening west to northwest winds were quickly on the increase to 45+ kts with the low lifting northeast and positioned 1300 nmiles west of Central CA. Seas were building from 28 ft at 39N 151W (283 degrees). All fetch was aimed east of any track into Hawaii. On Tues AM (11/26) a small fetch of 45 kt west to northwest winds was holding with seas peaking at 36 ft at 38N 144W a mere 1021 nmiles from NCal (278 degrees NCal and in the critical 290 degree window for SCal). By evening 35 kt northwesterly fetch is to be fading just off the Central CA coast with seas fading from 27 ft at 37N 139W (273 degs NCal, 285 degs SCal) and targeting NCal southward. A decent sized area of 35-40 kt northwest winds to hold into Wed AM (11/27) with seas 24 ft at 38N 135W (277 degs NCal and only 600 nmiles out, 290 degrees SCal). Winds to hold at 35 kts into the evening with seas fading from 24 ft at 36N 133W and falling into the 286 degree window for SCal. The gale to fade with winds below 30 kts 12 hours later and seas fading from 17 ft at 33N 130W (275 degs SCal). Possible larger but raw swell for Northern CA southward all attributable to this systems close proximity to the coast.
North CA: Expect swell arrival near 7 PM Wednesday (11/27) with period and size quickly ramping up pushing 9 ft @ 18 secs (16 ft) by 10 PM. Size to hold through the evening as period slowly fades. By sunrise Thursday (11/28) swell to still be near 9 ft @ 15 secs (13 ft) and slowly fading through the day. Residuals on Friday AM 911/29) fading from 5 ft @ 11-12 secs (5.5.l ft). Swell Direction: 273-283 degrees
Southern CA: Expect swell arrival on Thursday (11/28) near 2 AM with period 18 secs and size building fairly fast. Swell to start peaking near 8 AM with pure swell (nearshore) 4.2 ft @ 17 secs (7 ft faces) and size holding through the day and consistency increasing as period drops to 15 secs (4 ft @ 15 secs - 6 ft faces). Swell fading Friday from 3.75 ft @ 13 secs (4.5-5.0 ft faces). Swell Direction: 275-288 degrees
Stronger Dateline Gale
Another somewhat broader gale was developing northwest of Hawaii on Tuesday AM (11/26) with 45 kt west winds developing in its northern quadrant and poised to start wrapping around it's core. In the evening 45-50 kt northwest winds to be in the gales west and southwest quadrants targeting Hawaii with seas on the increase from 30 ft at 40N 180W (319 degrees). On Wed AM (11/27) the gale is to have pressure to 976 mbs with 40 kt west and northwest winds holding in the gales west and southern quadrants aimed mostly due east generating seas of 34 ft at 38N 174W (326 degs HI, 288 degs NCal). 30-35 kt west and northwest winds to barely hold into the evening with seas fading from 32 ft at 40N 168W (345 degs HI, 288 degs NCal) but mostly bypassing HI to the east. 30 kt west winds to be fading Thurs AM (11/28) in the Southwestern Gulf with seas dropping from 23 ft at 40N 162W (286 degs NCal). This system is to be gone by evening. This gale is just starting to organize but it seems likely some decent sideband swell will result for Hawaii with smaller more groomed energy for the US West Coast.
Rough data for planning purposes:
Hawaii: Expect swell arrival on Friday (11/29) near 2 AM with period 17-18 secs and size coming up fast. Swell to peak near sunrise at 8.3 ft @ 16 secs (13 ft Hawaiian). Size fading some late with period down to 14 secs at sunset. Residuals fading on Sat Am (11/30) from 4.8 ft @ 13 secs (6 ft faces) early. Swell Direction: 319-327 degrees
NCal: Expect swell arrival late Saturday evening and getting sizable early Sunday AM (12/1) near 1 AM with period 18 secs. Swell to be about 5.2 ft @ 16 secs at sunrise (8 ft), and fading slowly from there. Swell Direction: 288 degrees
Southern CA: Small early arrives to start showing near sunrise Sun (12/1) with period 18 secs and size tiny but building. Swell to reach 2.3 ft @ 16 secs (3.5-4.0 ft faces) late. Swell Direction: 292 degrees
North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
No tropical systems of interest were being monitored.
California Nearshore Forecast
On Tuesday (11/26) a calm to light offshore flow was in control of all California waters with a developing gale moving towards the coast. High pressure was nowhere to be found. A change is forecast starting Wed (11/27) as low pressure starts to move towards the north coast from the west with south winds building to 10 kts down to Pt Conception late and up to 15 kts off San Francisco. The core of the low is to be nestled right off Pt Conception Thursday with south winds 15 kts into Southern CA turning easterly from Big Sur northward and light rain possible for San Simeon southward to maybe San Diego. Friday wind to turn offshore for everywhere and light northerly for North CA. Rain still possible for Southern CA fading late. Saturday north winds to take over at 15 kts for North CA , and 10 kt for Central CA into Southern CA. Sunday high pressure is to take over with north winds like Saturday, but building as the day progresses. Monday north winds at 20 kts forecast for the North and Central Coasts with light rain down to San Francisco and snow down to Redding late. Winds moderating to calm on Tuesday as a weak low moves over the Central Coast. Rain down to Pt Conception and modest snow for North CA down to Tahoe. Winds 10 kts for Southern CA though.
Surface - No swell producing weather systems were in play. Over the next 72 hours no swell producing gale activity is forecast aimed up into our forecast area.
South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future
Beyond 72 hours a small gale is forecast building on the northwest dateline region falling southeast Sun AM (12/1) with a small fetch of 45 kt northwest winds targeting Hawaii. Seas to 28 ft at 44N 172E. In the evening winds to fade from 35 kts with seas 28 ft at 41N 178E. By Mon AM (12/2) 30 kt northwest winds to be fading on the dateline with seas dropping from 22 ft at 39N 176W (322 degs HI). Some smallish swell possible for HI.
Also a gradient between high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska and low pressure inland over British Columbia to generate 35-40 kt northwest winds just off the Coast of BC on Sun AM (12/1) with 22 ft seas at 50N 135W east of the Central CA swell window but targeting North CA and Oregon. The fetch to fall south in the evening with seas 20 ft at 46N 130W (just north of the 319 degree path to Central CA. The fetch to fade some but pull west of the Pacific Northwest coast late Monday with 17 ft seas out at 45N 135W (310 degrees Central CA), then fading. Windswell possible down to Pt Conception if all goes as forecast.
Note: The Madden Julian Oscillation is a periodic weather cycle that tracks east along the equator circumnavigating the globe. It is characterized in it's Inactive Phase by enhanced trade winds and dry weather over the part of the equatorial Pacific it is in control of, and in it's Active Phase by slack if not an outright reversal of trade winds and enhanced precipitation. The oscillation occurs in roughly 20-30 day cycles (Inactive for 20-30 days, then Active for 20-30 days) over any single location on the planet. During the Active Phase in the Pacific the MJO tends to support the formation of stronger and longer lasting gales resulting in enhanced potential for the formation of swell producing storms. During the Inactive Phase the jet stream tends to split resulting in high pressure and less potential for swell producing storm development. The paragraphs below analyze the state of the MJO in the Pacific and provide forecasts for MJO activity (which directly relate to the potential for swell production).
As of Tuesday (11/25) the daily Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was down to 20.74. The 30 day average was up into positive territory at 2.46 and the 90 day average up to 2.97. The nearterm trend based on the SOI was indicative of a Inactive Phase of the MJO and rising. The longer term pattern was near neutral and slightly rising. The SOI tends to be a lagging indicator running a week behind surface level weather trends, so the move into positive readings is not unexpected.
Current equatorial surface wind analysis indicated weak to modest east anomalies over the Maritime Continent weakening then redeveloping (easterly) on the dateline continuing south of Hawaii and holding midway into Central America. A week from now (12/4) weak pockets of easterly anomalies are forecast over the Maritime Continent turning slightly westerly over the dateline to a point south of Hawaii, then turning neutral and holding on into Central America. In all this suggests the Inactive Phase of the MJO is over the West Pacific and appears to be dying, effectively gone a week out. This should continue to hamper storm development in the North Pacific, but progressively less over the week long window.
The longer range models (dynamic and statistical) run on 11/25 are in-sync initially. Both models suggest a weak Active Phase was over the West Pacific.This is to hold for the next 4-5 days then a divergence setts up. The dynamic mode depicts it quickly fading with another Inactive Pulse developing in the West Pacific 8-15 days out while the statistic model depicts the Active Phase holding steady 15 days out. Clearly we hope the statistic model is correct. The ultra long range upper level model updated on 11/26 suggests the Active Phase was over the West Pacific and is to fade while tracking east reaching the dateline 12/3 and then into the East Pacific around 12/13 and dissipating. This might help fuel the NPac storm track a little if it develops as forecast. A weak Inactive Phase to follow pushing into the West Pacific around 12/13 moving into the East Pacific 1/5 with yet another Active Phase building behind in the West Pacific on 12/31. The upper level model tends to be a leading indicator, with surface level anomalies lagging behind 1 week or more.
The more warm water in the equatorial East Pacific means more storm production in the North Pacific during winter months (roughly speaking). Cold water in that area has a dampening effect. Regardless of what the atmospheric models and surface winds suggest, actual water temperatures are a ground-truth indicator of what is occurring in the ocean. As of now (11/25) a neutral water temp pattern covers the equator from Central America to the Philippines. A weak tongue of warmer than normal water started developing over the East Pacific mid-October in sync with a building Active Phase of the MJO. But starting 11/11 through 11/21 some slight erosion of that pocket occurred due to slightly cooler waters advecting off Peru, likely attributable to the current Inactive Phase of the MJO. But as of the 11/25 update, that appears to have stopped. Of note, a small pocket of warmer water is present in the latest images over Southern Peru. Maybe this is a good sign. Water temps off West Africa remain slightly warm. The North Pacific plume of slightly cooler than normal water tracking southwest to the equator driven by high pressure off California remains modest. The wall of warmer than normal water that was holding just off the North CA coast moved east impacting extreme North CA but quickly retreated with cooler waters still setting up along the North CA coast. This is result of high pressure, north winds and cool water upwelling locally. Still, thousands of nmiles of warmer water is lurking between Japan and just off the North CA coast. High pressure remains off CA, with water temps holding in the cool range, but there's some indication that may be breaking down. So there's neutral to warm water over the balance of the North Pacific (which is to good news). Still there's no sign of a legitimate warm pattern developing. In short, we're in a pure neutral pattern (as neutral as it can get). It will take 3 months from the time the cool eddy ended and a fully neutral pattern developed (mid-Sept) till anything helpful to the jetstream manifests in the upper atmosphere (mid-Dec).
Subsurface waters temps on the equator indicate a large pocket of warm water 2 degs C above normal is down at 150 meters and has been moving from just west of the dateline (170E) to the dateline (180W) with it's leading edge to 140W and tracking east while holding together nicely. A smaller pocket of 2 deg warmer water that had developed 70 meters down off Central America has dissipated. NOAA is calling the larger warm pool an eastward moving Kelvin Wave, though there is doubt as to how far east it will actually travel while remaining cohesive. It would be great to have it remain intact and impact to Ecuador, but we're not holding our breath mainly because it has made no forward progress in 2 weeks. but that could be attributable to buoy problems in the TAO array over the East Pacific, so we have not written it off. Will monitor.
Projections from the CFSv2 model run 11/26 remain stable. The model previously had suggested rapid warming starting March 2014 building to +1.0 deg C by late July 2014. But recent runs have backed off with warming expected only to +0.4 deg C by Aug 2014. For the immediate future (this Winter) a neutral pattern is expected with temps hovering near neutral (0.0 deg C). A consensus of other models suggests slow warming, but not passing beyond mildly positive territory till Spring of next year.
Overall the immediate outlook remains nothing stellar, but trending towards something that would be considered right on the threshold of warm, by Spring 2014, assuming one were to believe the models. Other models suggest a continuation of neutral conditions, though trending warmer. All this is good news. If anything the ocean is in a recharging mode, with cold water from the 2010-2011 La Nina dispersed and temperatures gradually on the rise again in fit's-and-starts.
We are in a neutral ENSO pattern with neither a solid El Nino or La Nina imminent. Expect a neutral pattern for Winter of 2013-2014 with perhaps a slightly warmer pattern by early 2014. The weak presence of the Inactive Phase of MJO in the summer of 2013 still seems to be biasing the weather global pattern. But with the ocean turning neutral, we suspect the atmosphere will make the turn as well over the next few months (into Dec 2013). This is a better place than previous years (2010-2011, 2011-2012 and 2012-2013) under the direct influence of La Nina. It is becoming apparent we've finally recovered from the 2009-2010 El Nino. Longer term the expectation is there will be at least one to two years of neutral temperatures ultimately converging in a stronger warmer pattern and possible El Nino 2-3 years out (2015 or 2016). And historically, this is the 'normal' pattern (a few years of false starts post La Nina before a legit El Nino forms).
See imagery in the ENSO Powertool and more details in the El Nino Update Last Updated 10/6/12
Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch of interest is forecast.
Details to follow...
External Reference Material: El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), Kelvin Wave
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Epic TV goes to Rapa Nui and scores. Nice Stormsurf plug too: Rapa Nui
Wall of Skulls - Here's a great video featuring Tahiti's famous wave. There's also a nice little plug for Stormsurf in it too. http://vimeo.com/70308073
Super Natural - Powerlines Productions has released their new big wave surf video chronicling the epic El Nino winter of 2009-2010 plus many other big wave event through the 2012-2013 winter season. It's a must see event for any big wave rider. It's for sale here: http://www.mavz.com/movies/super-natural/
Nantucket Marine Mammals has documented a short video concerning whale conservation and awareness off the Northeast US Coast. See it here: https://vimeo.com/68771910
Jason-1 Satellite Decommisioned - On June 21 an error occurred on board the Jason-1 satellite and it automatically shut down all critical functions. The satellite has since officially been decommissioned. It's last working transmitter failed on 6/21. All efforts have been made to get a response to no avail. The satellite has been placed in a parking orbit with it's solar panels turned away from the the sun. It's batteries are to discharge in the next 90 days. No additional data is expected from this satellite. We are working to start capturing data from the Jason-2 satellite, but that will take some time. More information to follow.
'CBS This Morning' with the Mavericks Invitational Surf Contest - See a nice morning TV show piece on the Mavericks Contest held Sun 1/20/13. The show aired Wed 1/23. Interviews with Colin Dwyer, Jeff Clark, Mark Sponsler and Grant Washburn: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50139546n
Jaws Redbull Contest Forecast Explained By Stormsurf
Cortes Bank Mission (12/21-12/22/2012)
The Making of 'Chasing Mavericks' - See some background footage on how the movie was made: Part1, Part2
The Psychology of Big Wave Surfing with Greg Long - A must see for any aspiring big wave rider: http://vimeo.com/51117940
Greg Long XCel Core Files - Here's a great profile of Greg Long and his contributions toward pushing the state of big wave surfing. Well Done - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd9pqgiXfxk&feature=player_embedded
Chasing Mavericks - The Jay Moriarty Movie: Two trailers for the new movie about Jay, Frosty and Mavericks has been posted. Movie opens on 10/26/12. Here's the link: http://www.mtv.com/videos/movie-trailers/818957/chasing-mavericks.jhtml & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNdYoX9Vfxg&feature=relmfu
Props from the Pros: Stormsurf was mentioned over the past week in two different media sources. One was in an interview Kelly Slater did with the New York Times and another was in a promotional piece Ramon Navarro did for the Big Wave World Tour. Many thanks to Curt Myers from Powerline Productions for alerting us and of course thanks to Kelly, Ramon and the Tour for using our service. Here's the links:
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New Wave Model Facts: Click HERE to read more about the new wave models. Important info.
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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table